Understanding Lighting

bolivianbaby

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I've been researching lighting lately because I'm going to have to change my bulbs on many of my tanks soon. According to what I've read, they last around a year. I'm expecting them to start going out on me.

I have special plans for my betta tanks and possibly my tropical community tanks, but for my other tanks, are the daylight bulbs the brightest?

Thanks everyone
 

Butterfly

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They actually last longer than a year before they go out but it is recommended the bulbs be changed sooner because they supposedly start to get weaker and don't deliver as much light after about a year.
Carol
 

jerilovesfrogs

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i've been wondering about lighting too. i have changed out the incandescents they all came with (except the 20g), for cfls in "daylight" or "cool". those help my smaller tanks not heat up as fast....but they still do and if my house is warm i cannot turn the lights on like all day, or the tanks will get too hot. the ones in my kitchen anyway.

i've been thinking leds ....i've been looking at some on smith & foster, and thatfishplace. some are pretty well priced. plus they don't get as hot. right? other than that, i'm not sure what i can do....so they don't over heat.

i'm so new to fish keeping that lights are on the bottom of my list....but i've been thinking more about it! i especially love moonlight. i'd like that on my big tank if i could figure out how. hahaha.
 

sirdarksol

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Daylights aren't necessarily the brightest, but they're the most "natural" (compared to our sun) light. Others will have different impacts on color in the tank. For example, my heavily planted tank has pinkish lights that give the entire tank a slightly strange cast. I need to add another, differently-colored bulb to even out the colors in the tank.
I have heard that, as the bulb goes on, not only does it get weaker, but the spectrum of light emitted becomes more narrow and/or changes, so if you're working with plants, they may not grow as well.
 
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bolivianbaby

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Thanks everyone!

SDS-is there a specific type of bulb for my cichlid tanks (no plants) that would help my fish show up better on pictures, videos, etc?
 

harpua2002

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18000K would work, or some people add an actinic bulb along with a daylight bulb to show off the colors of African cichlids.

If your tanks aren't planted, it's all a matter of aesthetics. Bulbs in the 5000K range look yellow, 10000K bulbs are more white, and above 10000K the bulb starts to look more blue.
 

brokenwing

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The brand of tube is generally unimportant. Most people choose tubes for planted aquariums by the Kelvin rating. That tells us what colour the light emited from the tube will look like to our eye. The higher the kelvin rating the bluer the light will appear to our eye. The lower the kelvin rating the more yellow/red the light will appear to us. Something in the range of 6,500-10,000kelvin will probably suit you best. 10,000kelvin is a very white looking light & I find to be most suitable in planted tanks with just one light tube, (10,000k what I'd choose). 6,500kelvin will look more yellow but can still give good plant growth as well. If you have two tubes to pick from & can't decide which one will be best, try to find the 'Spectral Output Graph' for each tube. That shows exactly how much light from which part of the spectrum the tube contains. Pick the tube with the smaller green spike in the spectral output graph. Green light is reflected by most plants rather than absorbed like blue & red light is. Here's a link to different tubes Dr. F&S have that you can select from: http://www.fosterandsmithaquatics.co...pt_id=&aid=354 Here's a few links to lighting information & general plant articles that you may find helpfull:
(lighting)
(lighting)
https://www.fishlore.com/aquarium_light.htm (lighting)
(plant info)
(plant & fish info)
http://www.badmanstropicalfish.com/2ndpage.html (plant & fish info)
http://www.badmanstropicalfish.com/plant_problems.html (plant deficiency)
(nutrient deficiency)

I hope all those links work ok. If they don't PM me again & I'll redo them. From the sound of it your water & lighting is quite suitable for the plants that Harpua provides in the package so I don't think there's any immediat information that I can give you that will help greatly. If you do run into any specific problems though or have any other questions don't hesitate to post in the forum or send me a PM & I'll be happy to help out any way that I can.
 

brokenwing

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No problem bolivian. One evening I got to talking to nutter about new lights for my 15 gallon, and that was his write up for me in a pm. I learned so much about lighting after I read that. I was shocked when i opened my pm and had seen what he sent me, he is very helpful, and taught me alot.
 

jerilovesfrogs

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i thank you also wing.....i have been trying to improve my lighting and am very confused about all the numbers! it's like 10 million makes it look white, 100 billion makes makes it look pink.....and on......haha.
 

Nutter

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If a tank with no plants in it has two tubes over the top, I like to use a 10,000k tube & a Sylvania Gro-Lux tube. I don't know what it is about the Gro-Lux tubes but they always seem to show up my fishes colours better than any other tube (they're cheap to). I don't use the Gro-Lux in for single tube tanks though as they don't have the brightness to see everything properly. I just settle for something around 10,000k which gives a good balance between the colours & to my eyes appears brighter because the light is so white.
 

brokenwing

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I thank you all for the comments, but thank nutter, he is the one who pointed me in the right direction with that write up. thanks again nutter. Im glad that helped so many people.
 

Nutter

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No problem Wing but I didn't really do the helping. It's the info in those links that really helped you.
 

mathas

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are the daylight bulbs the brightest?
If you're comparing two bulbs and want to know which is the brightest, look for the lumen value on each; lumens are a measurement of the power of light as perceived by the human eye. Lumens are not a great guideline to go by if you're determining how beneficial a bulb might be for plants, but if you're looking for the brightest (to human eyes) bulb for a non-planted tank, lumens are the metric to compare on.

Most people choose tubes for planted aquariums by the Kelvin rating. That tells us what colour the light emited from the tube will look like to our eye.
It's worth reiterating that the Kelvin scale, as applied to correlated color temperature in lighting, is not a qualitative scale where a higher number somehow implies "better", which seems to be a point that confuses many people as they try to get a grasp on lighting. All the Kelvin value on a bulb tells you is what color the light should look to humans, and even then it's not a regulated rating and manufacturers are free to put whatever number they want on a bulb.

As Nutter's pm mentioned, compare the spectral power distribution graphs if you want to compare two bulbs and evaluate photosynthetic suitability.
 
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ryanr

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for those curious about 'why' you replace bulbs before they 'blow'

I found this info on a wiki about flourescent lights, but here's a summary:

Flourescent lights (CF, T5, T8) have what is known as a half-life, meaning that overtime, the gas inside the tubes 'wears out'.... much the same as a person can probably still run at 50ish, just not as fast as when they were 10.

Here's a summary of some the 'failures' and kind of explains why we should replace our bulbs every 8-12mths.

Phosphor depletion
The phosphor drops off in efficiency during use. By around 25,000 operating hours, it will typically be half the brightness of a new lamp (although some manufacturers claim much longer half-lives for their lamps). Lamps that do not suffer failures of the emission mix or integral ballast electronics will eventually develop this failure mode. They still work, but have become dim and inefficient. The process is slow, and often only becomes obvious when a new lamp is operating next to an old one.

Loss of mercury
Mercury is slowly absorbed into glass, phosphor, and tube electrodes throughout the lamp life, where it can no longer function. Newer lamps now have just enough mercury to last the expected life of the lamp. Loss of mercury will take over from failure of the phosphor in some lamps. The failure symptoms are similar, except loss of mercury initially causes an extended run-up time to full light output, and finally causes the lamp to glow a dim pink when the mercury runs out and the argon base gas takes over as the primary discharge

[edit] here's some info on Metal Halide for those curious.
 
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